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Romania

Romania is a European country slightly smaller than the size of Oregon with a population of 22 million people. It is a land of great natural beauty, including the Transylvanian Alps (yes the land of Count Dracula!), the blue Danube delta, the Black Sea beaches and the world renown painted monasteries. Despite its natural beauty and great resources, Romania suffered economically and socially under its former communist regime. After the fall of communism and the ousting of its dictator, Ceausescu, Romania began its transition from a repressed state to a free society with an obsolete industrial base and a mindset unprepared for a democratic society.

Despite many struggles, including the poverty inherited from the prior regime, life in Romania continues to get harder. Natural disasters recently destroyed many villages across the country. People lost everything. Droughts compromised crops. Floods destroyed homes. Livestock diseases killed poultry and cattle.

Since the fall of the narcissistic Ceausescu regime in 1989, thousands of Romanian children have been abandoned each year by their poverty-stricken families or they have run away from abuse or struggling state-run institutions. Today, in a country half the size of France and slightly smaller than the United Kingdom there are still more than 22,000 street children in Romania huddled for warmth in sewers and begging and stealing for food.

In 2006, ABC News reported, “…for the legions of children lost in the system, the only hope of escape lies in a foster care system that is slowly groaning its way toward transformation. Romania continues to spend more than 70% of the money for child protection on infrastructure, 18% on foster care and 1% on training staff.”